The Milky Way is spinning and expanding, all of the time. I put a lot of stock in that. Millions of stars, millions of solar systems, all moving, all ignoring us. See that star up there? There may planets that circle it, just like here. And if, just like here, something lives, it doesn't care if your rent was late or if your feet hurt. You live and die, have some tiny life, or don't, and the universe doesn't care. Joy, grief, solace; that is up to you, not the universe. I really like that. I want to move alone through starlight. I want to live and die with a measure of silence and estrangement. My name is James, and it just doesn't matter. I am James.
It was a box, like many others, plain. Looking inside, I could see that it was full of arrows, but not arrows for archery. The box was full of arrows for pointing out which way to go. "What will you do now?" God likes to ask me questions. "Maybe it's time for a journey," I answered, and I threw the box up into the air as high as I could. Arrows fell to the earth like clues, and I set out walking.
In my dream, a lady grieves. I don't know her, but I try to comfort her. We pray together with a passion in an old cathedral until finally the monsignor comes to join us. He joins us, but it is me who leads us through the rosary. Now, hours later, I can still hear the Hail Mary from within my heart. --JOBE
Bob Dylan & Mark Knopfler come to town on the 20th. As I write this, they've done two shows on the North American leg of the tour and haven't come on stage together yet for a duet. No one knows why. It occurs to me that perhaps each one has asked the other, but because of their thick accents, neither one understood the other.
I paid $4.59 a gallon for gas this morning. I know I can do better. To find the best gas prices around try this link:
In the dream I am having many problems. I want to have lunch with two friends from Bulgaria, but we are all busy recycling vast stacks of paper. I have a briefcase that weighs so much it is hard to carry, it, too, is bursting with paperwork. I cannot find my car in the parking garage, and when I do, I can't find my way out. Finally, from high up in the garage, I give up, and watch the people on the busy street below. My alarm clock wakes me. -- JOBE
You set that rifle against the side of a barn, that's all. You never kept a bullet chambered, and you always had the rifle on safety. Always. When we were boys hunting birds with shotguns you reminded me again and again. "You just get one chance to be safe, Cuz." For years we had been like brothers. Playing, hunting and fishing, swimming at the lake, sharing the early attempts at chasing girls. You stayed at my house, I stayed at yours. Every summer we both spent a couple of weeks at our Grandmother's house deep in the East Texas countryside; those were the best. You were bigger and stronger than me, Eddie, but never a bully. You looked out for me, constantly. I wasn't with you that day. You had always liked hunting more than me, and in our teens, I just stopped. I didn't want to shoot anything again. I grew my hair long, smoked pot, when to music festivals. You wore cowboy hats, drank Jack Daniels, and rode bulls in the rodeo. You were the son my father wanted me to be! And you moved on to bigger game. Deer, antelope, wild hogs bigger than a man. You were always the safe one. The family trusted you to go off alone; they knew you would bring home meat, a hide, a head for the wall. You set that rifle against the side of a barn, that's all. By 22 you were married, had a little girl, she was the light of your life. You set that rifle against the side of a barn, you were taking a break, and when it discharged I am sure you were surprised. "You just get one chance to be safe, Cuz." Just one, Eddie. And when that 30.06 bullet ricocheted off of a piece of metal, split, and that piece went into your head, it didn't kill you, it just wiped your mind away. For 27 more years you lived that way, just a shell of yourself. Unable to remember your wife, your child, or the cousin who called you brother. Dying took a long time. And now you lay next to your parents, just a short walk from where we used to hunt birds, and talk about girls, and dream of the adventures we would have together as men. I still remember you, Eddie. I remember you, Cuz. Brother.
Watch as an older couple, say my wife and I, hold hands. There is a stillness and a calmness there. The hands know each other well. They are content just to be. That is not so with new, young lovers. Notice how the hands always seem to be in motion, touching, feeling, exploring, each sensation is brand new. There is no calmness at all. The missing calmness leaves an empty place, and that empty place is filled with wanting, needing. So it is with the shore. Here, the ocean and the earth meet, and have met, for millions of years. But not with the calmness and stillness of an older couple, as one might expect. It is with the lust and sensuality of brand new lovers, groping, caressing, touching, exploring. Going a little further, a little further, really wanting to make love. Even after eons have passed by.
In the dream I live in a world where no one speaks. People in this world communicate through interpretive jazz dance. I am a lawyer, defending a man wrongly accused of a felonious crime. The courtroom is crowded. The prosecution has finished their opening statement, accusing my client of terrible things, and now it is time for my opening statement. The courtroom is active as people are trying to whisper to each other, which in this world requires tiny little dance steps. The judge slams the gavel down and dances the room to order. He nods at me to proceed. I take a deep breathe, exhale slowly and rise to dance. -Jobe
Note: This IS an actual dream, not just made up crazy talk.
It was my old pal, David who first took me up there, on a damn hot August day in 1986. We drove up from San Francisco and parked by the old bridge, and hiked a short way to the swimming holes, picnicing and swiming, jumping off of boulders. Later when I moved to Sacramento, it was an easier drive and I went up quite often. When David was in the Nevada County lock-up for a while, I'd go swimming first and then go visit him still damp, just to bother the cops when they searched me. Years before, we had both loved a woman named Cathy back in Texas, who loved us back as brothers, which was not what we wanted, of course. When she died, her turd of a husband had her cremated and just left her ashes on his TV set. In the mid 1990s, David made a stone for her, a big heavy damn thing, and he and I took turns humping it to a spot halfway between Purdon Crossing and Edwards Crossing, and we hid it real good down by the river. I don't think even he and I could ever find it again. We said some prayers and left it there in a spot where the sun shines on the rocky waters. David lives in Hawaii now, but once in a while I go back alone to Purdon Crossing and hike down that trail, and say another prayer. And if it's hot I go for a swim.